Chest tube insertion using image guidance

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The pleural space can fill up with fluid or air after an accident or operation or as a result of disease. ​Chest tubes are placed into the pleural space to drain the fluid or air.

Key points

  • A chest tube is inserted between the ribs to drain fluid or air from the pleural space.
  • The tube can be placed in the chest using ultrasound and X-ray guidance or through surgery.
  • Usually, chest tube insertion is a low risk procedure.
  • Removing the chest tube is usually done at the bedside without anaesthetic.

Last updated: February 8th 2018